(Editors note) The last calender Sunday of the Liturgical year is the Feast of Christ the King. Pope John XXIII instituted this Feast to remind modern man that no matter how technical and sophisticated man becomes, Christ is still the King.
“In his old age Samuel appointed his sons judges over Israel. His first-born was named Joel, his second son, Abijah; they judged at Beersheba. His sons did not follow his example but sought illicit gain and accepted bribes, perverting justice. Therefore all the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, ‘Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your example, appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us” (1 Samuel 8:1-5).
This is a most important scripture because the people of God were asking for a man to be placed in a position to judge the people. Up to this point, God was their King, he lead the nation using Judges such as Samuel.
Previously, at Mount Sinai, the people gathered to hear the word of the Lord given to Moses, “On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking and God answering him with thunder. When the Lord came down to the top of Mount Sinai, he summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up to him. Then the Lord told Moses, ‘Go down and warn the people not to break through toward the Lord in order to see him; otherwise many of them will be struck down. The priests, too, who approach the Lord must sanctify themselves; else he will vent his anger upon them”.
Moses received the 10 Commandments from the hand of God, the bible says, “When the people witnessed the thunder and lightening, the trumpet blast and the mountain smoking, they all feared and trembled. So they took up a position much farther away and said to Moses, ‘You speak to us, or we shall die’. Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid, for God has come to you only to test you and put his fear upon you, lest you should sin. Still the people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the cloud where God was” (Exodus 20:18-21).
Up to this time, the Lord had been speaking to Moses, but the people were able to know that the Lord was with them, leading them, a cloud by day and fire by night. Samuel marks the end of the time of the Prophets and begins the time of the Kings.
Saul would be the first King of Israel, but because of his disobedience, his throne was given over to another, King David. This is highly important because God promised David that his linage would last forever.
At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel told Mary “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom there will be no end”.
Jesus literally is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He is the Priest, Prophet, and King. What the people could not accept at Mount Sinai, Jesus fulfills, what the people couldn’t accept at Ramah, Jesus again fulfills.
Today, we have largely lost the concept of a King because of our democracy. Our society wants to make the Church a democracy. That will not happen as the Catholic Church is the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus is the head of the Church, however, until He returns, Jesus placed St. Peter in charge, the keys of the Kingdom belong to the Pope.
One of the constant struggles of the Church is to spread the word of the Lord to all the nations. The past 2,000 years, there have been much progress, yet, we have much to go in accomplishing our mission.
The Roman Empire was brutal for centuries against the Church. This past Christmas, my wife got me a movie entitled, “The Eagle” staring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell. I really liked this movie and I came away with a unique perspective as it is centered in about 120 A.D. Britanica (England).
Rome had been developing countries, building roads, conquering much of the known world. The Lord would certainly utilize this opportunity to spread His Church. There were some attributes that the Romans held that were strong bonds. Their word was their bond.
In the movie “The Robe”, Richard Burton starred as a Roman Soldier who crucified Christ and the story is about the Robe and it’s affect on him. When he came to terms with who Jesus is, the Soldier offers St. Peter his sword, his possessions, his whole being.
That is important and this was plainly seen in the movie “The Eagle”. The Quest to regain his Father’s honor, Marcus Aquila with the help of a slave, went into the highlands to retrieve the golden eagle lost by his father in a battle. The story builds when they find the eagle.
The Church would ultimately convert the Roman Empire about 200 years later with the conversion of Constantine, who served in Britain. I have been raised to have a deep love for America and the Flag of the United States. The Church is to go to all the nations and bring the gospel to all who will accept it.
Jesus uses the cultures many times to reach the nations. Jesus is King of Kings and this can convert cultures. The Blackfoot Indians on their Reservation during the season of Lent would carry crosses 7 miles doing the Stations of the Cross. The oldest to the youngest capable for the journey would carry crosses wearing ancestral clothing.
The Polish have a similar tradition. Honor and integrity are important attributes to have as did the Roman, Christ restores all peoples into a friendship with God through His Church.
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